protecting the environment

We’re committed to responsible environmental management across all of our business activities including exploration, construction, operations, and closure. We are proactive in our approach to protecting the environment, especially in the protection and conservation of the Menominee River watershed and the natural resources that our community depends on. We understand the importance in responsibly extracting natural resources and in conserving the environment that is so vital to all who live here.

Below you’ll find sections that outline some of the measures we’re taking to protect the environment. As the development of the mine progresses more details will be made available. In the meantime, please refer to our Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and permit applications for more information.

Wetland landscape

Sitewide emissions to air are covered by an air use permit, which has been issued to Back Forty Mine by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

We are dedicated to maintaining the lowest possible emissions and will adhere to the strict air quality standards outlined in our permit. Back Forty will implement mitigation measures for all sources of dust due to mining operations.

Examples of air quality mitigation measures include:

  •   using Best Management Practices for dust suppression on haul roads;
  •   lowering speed limits of haul trucks and passenger vehicles on site;
  •   washing wheels of trucks before leaving contact areas; and
  •   enclosing and ventilating all large pieces of equipment, screens, crushers, and conveyors

Back Forty Mine will protect the Menominee River. In fact, EGLE issued a very stringent National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit for discharges from the Mine to the river that both EPA and the State of Wisconsin have reviewed and determined will meet all water quality standards applicable to the river.

Any water, including rain and snow that comes in contact with mining activities, will be collected and sent to an on-site, multi-phase wastewater treatment facility. Once treated, the water will be recycled back into the mining process or returned to the environment. Learn about the water treatment process here.

Regular and rigorous groundwater, surface water, and wetland quality-monitoring programs take place at and around the mine site. The programs are designed for early identification of any potential issues that could require examination and correction, and also ensure compliance with permit requirements. EGLE will review results from testing and monitoring of the treated water.

Back Forty Mine will carry out and pay for all reclamation activities during operations and following mine closure as required by our mining permit.

To the extent possible, certain impacted areas will be rehabilitated while the mine is operating, while others will be reclaimed when the mining is complete.

Some examples of reclamation activities include: backfilling the open pit, removing all buildings and infrastructure, and returning the land to a state compatible with adjacent properties. The wastewater treatment facility will remain in place until EGLE determines reclamation has concluded.

EGLE requires Back Forty provide financial assurance to the state before starting any construction or mining activity. Financial assurance is a mechanism that provides the state the right amount of money to close and reclaim the site at any given time if the company is unable to do so. It also protects taxpayers and the community from these obligations.

The funds would be available to the state through a combination of cash in trust, surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or some blend of these and other instruments. The financial assurance amount will be updated every three years to reflect any changes to reclamation, remediation, or post-closure monitoring.